There's a new, glowing homage to Big Fatty's in USA Today by local writer Larry Olmsted, who does the newspaper's "Great American Bites" column. Along the way, he offers up a bouquet to White River Junction--and a not-at-all-coy come-on to travelers to get off the highway and come visit.
"Big Fatty’s is in the heart of downtown White River Junction, which is arguably the 'Brooklyn' of Vermont, a suddenly revived area centered around a little-used Amtrak station...that has become a hotbed of artists, galleries, craftspeople, live theater, new loft apartments and hipster restaurants," he writes. So okay, maybe he's using an unusually broad definition of "hipster."
But let's get to the food. "New England is not exactly famous for its Southern-style slow-smoked barbecue," Olmsted writes. "Big Fatty’s was an early adopter, and has been dispensing authentic smoked meat in Vermont for 15 years."
He goes on to say, "To me the standout was the burnt ends, one of the least common but most prized meats in the barbecue world. These are chunks — here quite large chunks — of beef brisket that have been smoked, cut, re-seasoned with dry rub and smoked again so all the sides have exterior 'bark' and seasoned flavor. The chunks are tender and perfectly seasoned, and while much bigger than you would see in Kansas City, delicious."
Olmsted is a food writer with serious street cred (you might remember him as the author of the eye-opening book Fake Food) and while he really likes Big Fatty's, he doesn't go all googly-eyed. He thinks the ribs are "good" (though the brisket is "well above average"), the fries are "soggy" (though he loves the sweet-potato fries), and overall thinks the place may not be "pilgrimage-worthy" but that "barbecue or craft beer fans road tripping through Vermont will want to visit."